Keaglesborough Mine and Riddipit farmstead 850m north east of Norsworthy Bridge
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 02:33:37.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Devon (District Authority)
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 57203 70059
Reasons for Designation
Tin has been exploited on Dartmoor since the prehistoric period and surviving
remains are numerous, well-preserved and diverse, with the two main types of
tinwork being streamworks and mines. The three different forms of tinwork used
to mine lode tin were lode-back pits, openworks and shafts. Lode-back pits
survive as shallow shafts which were sunk onto the lode outcrop to extract
cassiterite. These pits generally occur in linear groups following the line of
the lode, with associated spoil dumps. Many tin lodes have been worked at the
surface by digging pits onto the backs or surface exposures of the lode to
remove the mineral that lay above the water table. Openworks are also known as
beams and they were formed by opencast quarrying along the length of the lode.
The term openwork refers to the field evidence for opencast quarrying of the
lode, which produced relatively narrow and elongated gulleys.
Shaft mining is synonymous with underground extraction, with access to the
lode being through near vertical or horizontal tunnels known as shafts and
adits. Underground workings are often complex in character, with considerable
layout variations reflecting developing extraction techniques. Within the
vicinity of most mines are found the remains of prospecting activity. This
generally takes the form of small pits and gulleys. Some mines have associated
surface buildings which provided a variety of services for the working miners.
The ore quarried from all three forms of mine was taken for processing to
nearby stamping mills.
A national survey of the tin industry in England was completed in 1999. This
demonstrated the number and diversity of surviving remains and the
significance of some areas for understanding the origins and development of
the industry. Dartmoor is one such area and here a representative selection of
sites with significant surviving remains has been identified as nationally
Despite afforestation, Keaglesborough Mine and Riddipit farmstead survive well and together provide a glimpse into the often complex relationship between historic mining and farming. The earthworks and structures associated with Keaglesborough provide an insight into the development of tin extraction, but of special importance are the well-preserved stamping mills, which will contain information relating to the technological character and efficiency of tin extraction.
The monument includes the core part of Keaglesborough Mine together with
an historic farmstead known as Riddipit situated on the lower western
slopes of Raddick Hill overlooking the River Meavy. Keaglesborough Mine is
believed to have been operational from the early part of the 16th century
and many of the surface workings may date from this time. During the
latter part of the 18th and early years of 19th centuries tin processing
facilities, including two stamping mills and associated dressing floors,
were established. Water to power the mills and dress the tin was brought
to the site by leat from the River Meavy below Hart Tor.
The earliest industrial remains within the monument are a series of parallel dumps surviving at two places on the edge of an openwork. These represent the much truncated remains of an earlier eluvial streamwork which was largely removed during subsequent opencast mining operations, resulting in the formation of the substantial openwork which is up to 10m deep. Subsequent mining was carried out underground with the only evidence at the surface being an adit cut into the base of the openwork and two shafts further to the east. Much of the tin from the underground workings would have been crushed and dressed in the stamping mills and dressing floors. Both mills survive as rectangular platforms denoted on three sides by drystone wall revetment. In the centre of each platform is a stone-lined pit in which the wheel providing power for the stamps rotated. Leading from each wheelpit is a well-preserved channel known as a tail-race, which would have carried water from the wheel. On the northern side of these wheelpits and tail-races are a series of rectangular and triangular hollows which represent the site of buddles and other devices used to separate the cassiterite (tin dioxide) from waste materials. Collectively these structures form the dressing floor. Irregular shaped mounds standing in the vicinity of the dressing floors represent waste material discarded during the dressing process. The water supply to each mill was carried to the wheel on a leat embankment and timber launder. The eastern leat embankment, in particular, survives as a revetted bank standing up to 1.9m high, whilst both timber launders will survive only as buried features.
A short distance to the west of the northern end of the eastern dressing floor is a rectangular earthwork which may represent the site of a small building connected in some way with the mine.
Riddipit farmstead stands at the lower end of the openwork and survives as a group of two long buildings, together with ancillary structures, situated around a central courtyard. The farm at Riddipit certainly dates to the middle part of the 16th century, but may have earlier origins. Considerable quantities of 16th and 17th century pottery recovered from the site provide evidence of occupation during this period. All of the surviving buildings are of drystone construction with the walls standing up to 1.6m high. The farmstead was abandoned in the middle part of the 19th century.
All modern fence posts within the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE157.01, (1989)
Haynes, R.G., Ruined Sites on Dartmoor - Middleworth, 1966, Unpublished Manuscript
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2002)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2002)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing